Chronic pain is a debilitating condition that affects millions of Americans every day. These patients are in search of treatments that can help them regain their quality of life and improve their symptoms, but many doctors have been unable to offer anything more than temporary relief with prescription drugs.
Fortunately, there has been a significant increase in the number of chronic pain treatments available over the last few years, which has given these patients hope.
However, there is still a lot of confusion and misinformation about these treatments. In this article, we aim to clear the air and provide a detailed look at some of these new treatments.
Emerging & Effective Treatments for Chronic Pain
Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)
This procedure has been used to treat a number of mental health issues, but it is also becoming an increasingly popular treatment for chronic pain. ECT involves sending electric currents into the brain in order to induce seizures that are similar to those experienced during epileptic episodes. It has been shown to cause changes within the nervous system which can decrease both depression and anxiety while also reducing pain levels in some patients.
ECT is not without dangers and the procedure can often cause short-term side effects such as confusion, anxiety, and memory loss, in addition to long-term issues like permanent brain damage or personality changes.
Epidural Steroid Injections
One of the most promising chronic pain treatments currently available is epidural steroid injections, which can help reduce inflammation and ease symptoms for some patients. This is an outpatient procedure that requires no recovery time and can be used to treat back pain, sciatica, neck pain, shoulder injuries, and more.
These injections are injected directly into the epidural space of the spine where they will disperse medicine over a large area of inflamed tissue. This reduces swelling, which in turn helps decrease pressure on the nerves and helps the patient regain function of their damaged area.
The injections can be done with a local anesthetic or using imaging guidance, but both options only require minimal discomfort for the patient.
While this treatment does not provide permanent relief from all pains associated with back problems, it has been shown to have positive effects in many cases.
Spinal Cord Stimulators
Another common chronic pain treatment is spinal cord stimulators, which are implanted to help patients with severe, refractory cases of back or leg pain.
These electrical implants use small leads that send an electric impulse into the patient’s spine where they can block out painful signals from entering their brain and reduce the sensation in areas affected by injury or disease.
This treatment is a good option for patients who have been unable to find relief from any other treatments, but it does require the implantation of an electrode and transmitter, which can be uncomfortable.
Another new treatment for chronic pain is radiofrequency ablation, which uses a small probe to heat the tissue in the targeted area. Radiofrequency ablation is used to treat many different types of pain including back pain, arthritis, shingles-related nerve pain, and more.
The procedure typically only requires the insertion of a needle under x-ray guidance in order to inject either heat or chemicals into the affected area. This provides immediate relief for patients suffering from chronic pain.
All of these procedures have been shown to provide relief for some patients, but they are not without their limitations. This is because pain can be caused by many different reasons and this means that there will always be some people who find no relief from any treatment on the market. However, for many others, these new procedures offer the possibility of finally ending their pain.
For more information on treatment options for managing your chronic pain, contact us today.